Smoke spotted in the distance by a Middlemarch resident turned out to be a sizeable vegetation blaze, fire officials say.
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokeswoman said a member of the public called to report seeing some smoke coming from Moonlight Rd near Middlemarch today.
About 3.30pm, a crew from Middlemarch responded and when they arrived they found a 120m x 50m vegetation fire close to the road.
The fire had jumped over Moonlight Rd and was burning on both sides, the spokeswoman said.
Crews from Outram and Ranfurly were called to assist.
About 5.20pm the fire was under control but not extinguished, and the spokeswoman thought the crews could be there for another hour.